IDAHO FALLS — A family is mourning the loss of a father of four after he was shot and killed by a police officer Monday morning.
Shortly after midnight, Joseph “Joe” Johnson died in his backyard after being shot by an Idaho Falls Police Department officer, whose name has not yet been released. Law enforcement was in Johnson’s neighborhood looking for a suspect who ran from a traffic stop stemming from a broken tail light.
Johnson had moved his family to Idaho Falls a couple of years ago and bought the house on the corner of Tendoy and Syringa drives. Johnson’s immediate family has not spoken with the media as they are mourning his loss.
Johnson’s wife of 19-years established an official GoFundMe page to help with expenses. The family asks that donations only be made to this account. Cards and flowers for Johnson’s family can be sent to Coltrin Mortuary and Crematory at 2100 1st Street in Idaho Falls.
“He was adored by everyone that knew him and this loss is beyond understanding,” Bree writes on the GoFundMe page. “Thank you for your love and support during this unbelievably traumatic time for our family. We appreciate your respecting our privacy as we continue to process this traumatic loss.”
Police reports detail a search for a suspect later identified as Tanner Shoesmith, 22. He had run after a traffic stop and was believed to be armed. It’s not clear exactly what happened, but at some point during the pursuit, officers went into Johnson’s backyard and discovered him armed. Both Johnson and Shoesmith reportedly had on black shirts.
An officer fired once, striking Johnson and killing him. When police tried to save the man’s life, they discovered he was Johnson, not the suspect. For a more detailed account of the pursuit click here.
Officers later apprehended Shoesmith in a shed at a house on Linden Drive, a street over from the shooting.
Idaho Falls Police say the officer who fired the shot has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation. The Eastern Idaho Critical Incident Task Force was called in to investigate. The multi-agency task force investigates officer-involved shootings in eastern Idaho. The Idaho State Police are serving as the lead on this investigation.
The investigations by the task force can take weeks, if not months. The Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office will also review the case to determine if the shooting was legally justified. Idaho Falls Police officials said at a news conference Monday that body camera footage would not be released until after an investigation.
“The Idaho Falls Police Department has core values – one of those values being integrity,” Idaho Falls Police Chief Bryce Johnson said at a news conference on Monday. “As we define integrity, it means being honest and truthful at all times, even when the truths we have to tell may be difficult. Today, the truths we have to share with the community are difficult and incredibly tragic.”
A memorial service for Johnson has not yet been announced.
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